Last week, we had the joy of welcoming our five sons and two of our three stepdaughters to our home.
These kinds of events where we can bring all or almost all of our children together only happen two to three times a year. Life has shattered the family unit we built with our sons, and there is nothing sad about that.
We always had in mind, Rachel and I, that we wanted to raise our boys to become men of faith, strong and independent, and even if the transition from one season to another has pinched our heart, at the time of the first departure of the nest, we watch them today becoming men of God, husbands and perhaps one day parents themselves, with a real joy.
For eighteen years of their lives, Rachel and I played the role of Moses in their lives: explaining to them the difference between good and evil, the boundary between the two, and the consequences attached to each choice. We told them about their free will, and that as they grew up, they would become their own leaders, responsible for their actions, who could only blame themselves, and no one else for their choices.
We were the keepers of the law, the ones who made decisions and imposed their decisions. We explained, warned, but also gave sanctions when necessary. They were not free from everything, because our role was to teach them respect for their parents, others, the authorities, the laws and, ultimately, God.
They negotiated, challenged, grumbled, but also learned to obey. None of this has prevented them from becoming different from each other, free men, thinking for themselves and also protecting and respecting the freedoms of others.
Nothing was perfect, like everyone else, they experienced tears, disappointments, and wounds, but also great joys, victories, and stages of growth in their spiritual lives. They are still under construction at different levels of maturity, depending on their age, who they are, and where they are in their life season.
Rachel and I were by their side, as best as we could, whenever necessary. But today they are all over the age of 21, the age of full majority in the United States. They became men.
What then is our role as parents? What are our limits? What influence can we still have in their lives?
To be continued next week…
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